We’ve all witnessed the undeniable growth and increased focus of content marketing over the past few years. As of 2013, 92% of marketers utilize content marketing and 62% plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2014. While everyone seems to be jumping on this successful bandwagon, not all of them are hitting the mark!
Usually we take the time to study successful content marketing campaigns to learn what we should be doing. But let’s not forget about the blunders and pitfalls many of us have experienced along the way with content marketing fails. Some may be larger than others, but all are damaging to your business. Here is a list of don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to content marketing strategy.
1. Don’t overlook the big picture
What does content marketing need? Fresh content, of course. A continuous flow of content is vital to a successful web presence and most companies publish something daily or weekly simply because “they’re supposed to.” People blog just to blog or have a Facebook page just because. The key is go out of your way to find unique topics or to provide insightful analyses. Publishing something doesn’t cut it.
Keep in mind that every word or image you publish is going to be out there on a digital space—forever, shaping your company’s reputation. That’s why it’s so important to put thought into your content and not to fall victim to the “publish right now” mentality. Be sure to always adhere to your own brand and standards.
2. Don’t let new developments pass you by
Part of the benefits of a successful content marketing strategy is establishing yourself as an expert in your industry. If you play your cards right, you will be the source people turn to for information. Or, in the case with brands, you will be remembered when it comes time for trusted consumers to make a purchase. That is, if you keep up with new developments.
Every industry has news and other developments that its target audience needs to know. If you glide over the latest and greatest of the day — and, on top of that, fail to provide analysis or insight — your target audience will not count on you. Ultimately, this could mean they’ll never buy from you. You know that other website that is always sharing news and diving into fresh concepts? Yup, they will be the one people turn to, and they’re going to make the sale because they earned the audience’s trust.
3. Don’t forget the research
A common content marketing failure is the content creator that claims they can write great content on the fly. No matter how much of an expert you may actually be, working that way comes back to hurt you in the end.
Think about a time when you researched a topic on your own and ended up going in a completely different direction than what you had originally anticipated. You may know the subject like the back of your hand, but some quick research can alert your thoughts toward a brand new development or a different opinion that you had never considered before.
4. Don’t undermine promotion
How do you hear about brands you follow or even life events from friends and family? More than likely than not, they are promoting this information! If you’re not promoting every piece of content that you publish, it makes succeeding with your content marketing strategy difficult — if not impossible.
This may seem obvious, but it is called “content marketing” for a reason. Step one is to create content that’s interesting and informative, and follow up with step two of marketing it. Don’t be lazy and simply publish it somewhere and cross your fingers that people in your target audience happen to stumble across it. The Internet is vast and you need to set up directions to point readers and consumers in the right direction.
Shout from the rooftops when you publish! Tell your social media contacts all about your new content, seek out syndication opportunities, and share it in places where you know your target audience is going to see it. If your content is good enough (remember our first fail – not publishing insightful content), people will be happy to pass it along to their own contacts and networks, and so on.
5. Don’t skip editing
Grammar can be tricky at times and spelling doesn’t always make sense. Did you mean to or too, and what about their, there or they’re? We all make mistakes, so your audience can let these slide, right? No way! Even if your company is comprised of professional writers, a second pair of eyes is always the way to go.
Your content has to be perfect every time you click “publish”. A few minor spelling or grammar screw-ups in your content could hurt your entire marketing strategy. Your readers will come to one of two conclusions when they see these mistakes — either you’re unqualified or you’re too lazy to proofread.
6. Don’t rely on shortcuts
We’re all busy. But sometimes taking a shortcut will only lead us down the wrong path. As much as we would love to simplify the writing process, there are no templates or automated gadgets that can help produce high-quality content without the support of a clear mind. If you want each piece of content to support your strategy, the most sophisticated machinery you can rely on is yourself!
Think about what your readers want. If you take shortcuts with your content, your readers will pick up on your laziness. Don’t be labeled as a corner-cutter — this could ultimately hurt other sectors of your reputation.
What don’t you do?
Now, tell us what we’ve missed. What are some don’ts you’ve found that become obstacles to a successful content marketing strategy? Share with us in the comments.