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The #1 Content Marketing Mistake You’re Making (& How to Stop It)

In Seth Godin’s words, “Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left”. If you’re part of a content agency, you know just how much businesses are willing to invest in content marketing. And for good reason.

But there’s good (effective) content marketing and bad (ineffective) content marketing. Businesses who do invest in content marketing expect to see results. If you’re not seeing them, you could be committing one of these 7 content marketing mistakes.

#7 Action without strategy

Effective content marketing is a mix of smart strategy and tactical execution. Strategy is like your infrastructure, as marketer Rebecca Lib once said. Without it, your actions will be misguided and chaotic.

Ask the questions “what” and “why” before you get to “how”. If your social media executive spends 20% of her time at work creating memes, you should probably ask why. Why memes and not something else? Do you have numbers that justify that investment? If you plan to write blog posts all day, you should be sure of how many leads each post will yield and how. Ask the same questions of all of your content.

Suggested reading: How to Create a Block-buster Content Marketing Strategy with These Three Social Media Tools

#6 Incorrectly hypothesized personas

According to an IBM study, customers feel like brands don’t understand them. The reason is that most brands take data at face value and ignore their understanding of human behavior. Gut instinct is critical to judgement calls made by social media and digital analysts.

It isn’t enough to assume that you’re target persona is “Head of Marketing, 35-45 years, lives in Canada”. You need to have data to back the assumption, and you need data and an understanding of what your target groups like and dislike. For instance, do members of your audience like getting daily emails? Or would they appreciate one weekly email sent mid noon? The more you know and understand about your audience, the more you’ll succeed at content marketing.

#5 Irrelevant content

There’s a massive gap between what content marketers assume about their audience and what the reality is. So, all the content they create on a daily basis could be irrelevant and ineffective.

Delve deep into your audience’s mind by getting feedback. Collect customer feedback once in a while, conduct face to face interviews and if possible measure how well your audience responds to your content. Google Analytics’ Page Analytics – views and on-page time and social media analytics are great to get a basic understanding of how well your content is performing. One way to ensure that you always have fresh, relevant content is by using a content curation app such as DrumUp.

Suggested reading: The Ultimate Content Curation Guide 

#4 Carelessly leveraging controversy

Controversy attracts attention. But mixing controversy with brand messaging is a very risky idea. Take for instance, what happened with PewDiePie in 2017. The biggest YouTuber in the world lost his contract with Disney because he published anti-semitic.

If you want to use controversial subjects in your blog and social media content, consider the repercussions very carefully. Even if there’s a small chance of your message being misconceived, don’t do it. The positive results you may get can’t outweigh the risks. Companies as massive as Pepsi have experienced a dip in sales because of playing with sensitive ideas.

#3 Off-brand messaging

Creating a brand image is probably the most important thing you can do to help your business. This is one of the reasons why Disney pays so much attention to maintaining the image of all of its stars.

If you don’t stay on-brand, you might be remembered by the world for all the wrong reasons. For instance, United Airlines faced a media storm after its flight attendants unceremoniously removed a passenger from an overbooked plane. Every act of yours has the potential to inspire content on the internet. It’s critical to ensure that the content is in your favor. One way to manage your reputation on the internet is by using a monitoring tool such as Brand24.

#2 Monotonous single-format marketing

Monotony is a merciless engagement killer. This is particularly true because people have so many choices for content and they won’t follow yours if it is monotonous. Monotony is especially common among brands that publish content as a meaningless routine.

There are several formats of content that you can try. The more you surprise your audience, the more likely they are to stay engaged. HubSpot, for instance, is always experimenting with types of content on their social media pages. As a result, their audience has stayed engaged with the brand. It’s just as Seth Godin said in his well-known marketing TED talk – give people a purple cow and they’ll pay attention.

cow GIF-downsized

Suggested reading: 

7 Types of Social Media Content That Drive Most Engagement 

16 Types of Visual Content to Revitalize Your Social Media Marketing

#1 Not experimenting

The two most important things that a content marketer can do is to keep reading and experimenting. If you read, you’ll find new ideas and those ideas will work for you only if you experiment with them.

Test all of the ideas that you find/think of by creating a measurable experiment. Use the results to refine/revise your idea. You’ll find that content marketing ideas rarely work the same way for all brands. The formula for your brand may be completely different from the formula that certain content marketing experts follow. To ensure that you’re doing what’s best for your brand, run experiments on a regular basis.

Wrap

There you have it. 7 content marketing mistakes that you could be making. Figure out which ones are holding you back and revive your content marketing today!

Feature image sourced from Freepik.com